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December 9, 2012

Engineers team up on EA common market protocol

Engineers in East African Community (EAC) countries signed here yesterday a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) allowing members of their profession to move and work freely in the regional bloc.
Engineers’ registrars from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda witnessed the signing ceremony. Burundi and Rwanda, who are yet to carry out professional conformity, were not a party to the signed agreement.
EAC Director of Infrastructure Phillip Wambugu said the idea was to push forward the common market protocol officially launched in July 2010 and the EAC treaty.
He said the Council of Ministers has already directed the EAC secretariat to facilitate competent authorities from various professionals in the partner states to negotiate and sign mutual agreements to hasten movement of professionals in the respective areas.
“So, what you are doing today is part and parcel of fulfilling our dreams. This is an important step as it opens the way for other professions to negotiate and sign their respective MRAs and further enables the progress towards enabling cross border practices across Partner States,” he said.
Eng. Prof Ninatubu Lema from the Tanzania Engineering Registration Board (ERB) said the trend would increase opportunities for mutual learning and the transmission of regulatory experience.
It would also enhance stimulus for professional engineers to make the necessary adaptations to the changing economic and social environments.
“This will also raise professional standards as well as the level of access to professional engineering services,” Prof Lema said, adding:
“We’ll use this platform to empower our engineers so that they come up with their giant firms, which can be able to compete with companies from outside the regional bloc.”
Eng Steven Mlote also from Tanzania was optimistic the agreement would be operational early next year. It has to pass through two stages - EAC Council of Ministers and the Heads of State Summit for endorsement.
Uganda’s Eng Livingstone Kangele said the move would facilitate the movement of professional engineers and maintain the diversity of the engineering service providers that come onto the EAC markets.
“Engineers will benefit a lot from this agreement as it will facilitate economic integration and increase availability of greater consumer choice of engineering services,” Kangele said.
GIZ Programme Manager Bernd Multhaup also hailed the initiative, saying: “This will help improve engineering profession in the region and scale-up the regional integration process.”

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